Morgan staying only good news for Foxes

LONDON • The vultures are slowly eating away at Claudio Ranieri's handcrafted Leicester City pizza.

N'Golo Kante has departed for the seemingly greener grass at Chelsea and Riyad Mahrez remains the subject of interest from bigger fishes.

Now the club's head of recruitment, Steve Walsh, who was integral in bringing both players to the club, is close to joining Everton as their director of football.

The only good news for the Italian manager on Tuesday was that club captain Wes Morgan signed a new contract extension until 2019.

The inspirational 32-year-old led 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester to a fairy-tale Premier League title success last season based on his defensive organisation.

"To commit my future to Leicester City is a wonderful feeling. Everyone knows how I feel about playing for this club and with my team-mates, so I'm proud to have the chance to carry on wearing the shirt long term," said Morgan.

"Lifting that Premier League trophy was a moment I will never forget and it's still sinking in. Now we've got to give it everything to defend it as well as showing what we can do in the Champions League," he added on the club website (www.lcfc.com).

Last season, he became only the third outfield player to feature in every minute of a Premier League title-winning campaign after Chelsea's John Terry (2014-15) and Manchester United's Gary Pallister (1992-93).

It was his defensive work that stood out as Leicester conceded just 11 league goals in 2016 en route to the title, earning him a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

While Walsh's future is in doubt, Ranieri was unequivocal on the state of play surrounding Mahrez.

"Everybody here is happy and, yes, he wants to stay. No other players will go away - we will stay together," the manager said.

"It's important to maintain the group, with the spirit, with the humility - that's important for me."

Walsh's former understudy and head of technical scouting, Ben Wrigglesworth, joined Arsenal in January, while Rob MacKenzie was installed as Tottenham's head of talent identification in February.

Despite his calm, Ranieri must indeed wonder who is next?

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Morgan staying only good news for Foxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe